The Political Strategy of “Making the Other Side Better”

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Ilya Somin

“It’s important to recognize that beating the other side and improving it aren’t always mutually exclusive. The former can often facilitate the latter. If your side’s policies turn out to be political winners, that may well incentivize the other side to adopt them, or at least stop opposing them. A famous example is the political success of many of FDR’s New Deal policies, such as Social Security. After they helped the Democrats win numerous elections, most Republicans came to accept them. When the GOP finally recaptured the White House in 1952, after five straight defeats, it was with a president (Eisenhower) who accepted most of the New Deal, even if sometimes grudgingly. Later, one of the great triumphs of Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK was that opposing parties ultimately acceded to many of their policies.” (07/22/22)